From the Basement: Lingerie football league exposed

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From the Basement: Lingerie football league exposed

Jesse Schultz | Contributing Artist

Jesse Schultz | Contributing Artist

Jesse Schultz | Contributing Artist

John Tanet, Contributing Writer

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A man clad in little more than boxers and pasties sprints across the gridiron, colliding hard with a similarly dressed bloke on the other team. Padded only around the shoulders and head, his ribs and knees strongly protest this chance encounter.

These conditions are ridiculous to imagine for an NFL athlete, yet we see an entire league built on them for women to participate in the sport. Formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, the Legends Football League banks on its gimmick of scantily-clad women wrestling for balls. While the idea might seem amusing, the execution is typically devastating.

Beyond its inherent exploitation of the athletes, the lack of proper safety equipment and uniforms has led to astounding rates of injury. For example, the 2016 season saw New England Liberty withdrawing from its final game after “more than half of the roster ended up on injured reserve after their third game.”

When was the last time an NFL game was cancelled due to widespread injury?

Never.

Though the NFL is no haven of player safety, the disparity is clear. This league does not guarantee the safety of its athletes. 

So, what if a woman wishes to play the sport without putting herself at such risk? 

Well, she had better content herself with playing at the amateur level. One of the largest leagues, the Women’s Football Alliance, currently fronts 64 teams but lacks significant exposure. Other leagues continue to bill themselves as amateur.

Therein lies the true farce of the Legends Football League. Once billing itself as a professional league, the LFL failed to properly protect its players as a professional league should, with massive oversights regarding player safety. And when the players protested these conditions, the league rebranded itself as an amateur league to shunt costs of healthcare onto the players and limit the amount they are paid. 

So I ask you, dear readers, why don’t we Tulanians try to take the first step? There are certainly women on campus who want their part in this sport to be more than bare bodies and shoddy salaries. Why should they have to settle for the LFL?